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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 September, 2003, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Police unit tackles Tamil gangs
Asan Ratnasegaram
Asan Ratnasegaram was attacked in a car
Scotland Yard has set up a specialist unit to investigate violence between groups of Sri Lankan youths after a teenager was stabbed to death with a Samurai sword.

Asan Ratnasegaram,18, was sitting in his car with two friends at the junction of Ealing Road and Carlyon Road, in Wembley, north-west London, on Saturday afternoon when they were attacked.

Four men, also thought to be Sri Lankan, attacked the car with hammers and axes before killing the 18-year-old. His two friends drove off to escape the gang.

Police have set up a unit to liaise with the Tamil community in a bid to stop the rising numbers of killings of mostly young, Sri Lankan males in north and west London.

Already this year, four Sri Lankan men have been murdered.

On 8 June a gang, believed to be made up of 12 members, struck twice inside a few hours.

At 0100 BST Partheepan Balasinghan, 23, was beaten up using swords, a bottle and an axe outside a restaurant in Ealing Road. He died four days later.

At about 0200 BST the gang kidnapped Kishokumar Balachandiran, 18, in Ilford, east London, who was discovered 10 hours later, naked and suffering from hypothermia in Wembley.

Police said he had been beaten and he died a week later.

Also in June, four Tamils were found guilty of the murder of student Supenthar Tamachandran, 18, who was beaten, stripped naked and set alight in a park in Kingsbury, north-west London.

Political violence

Detective Inspector Andy Rowell, leading the investigation into Mr Ratnasegaram's murder, said: "With any Tamil involvement we would try to look for any links or suggestions it might be a revenge killing, but at the moment that is only one line of inquiry."

Many of the Tamils are from the villages of Sri Lanka which has suffered political violence for the last 25 years.

One community leader, who does not wished to be named, told BBC News Online: "Many of these communities do not know anything other than violence.

"Some of the violence goes back to family feuds.

"This is a huge concern to the Tamil community."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC London's Guy Smith
"Already this year, there have been four murders, all young men and all from the Tamil community"



SEE ALSO:
Detectives link Tamil murders
17 Jun 03  |  London
Man jailed for Tamil murders
09 Jun 03  |  London
Tamil guilty of two UK deaths
06 Jun 03  |  South Asia


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